Director Ryan Coogler's first priority with "Black Panther" was to make a good movie


Marvel's "Black Panther" is breaking records and it hasn't even been released yet. Advance ticket sales for the film on Fandango have outpaced all other superhero movies -- and it's the first one to feature a black lead character, a black director, black writers and a predominantly black cast. 

Despite buzz over the history-making cast and crew behind it, for director Ryan Coogler, the first priority was to make a good movie. "First things first, it's got to work as a movie. That's hard enough to do," Coogler told "CBS This Morning."

So far, critics feel he's done exactly that. The Los Angeles Times calls it "a superhero movie whose characters have integrity and dramatic heft" and its Rotten Tomatoes score, a site that averages reviews, sits at a lofty 98 percent.

The film follows T'Challa as he returns home to take his place as leader of the fictional African country Wakanda, following the death of this father. Wakanda is wealthy, technologically advanced and one that has never been colonized.

Coogler's relationship with "Black Panther" started early. Taking after an older cousin, he started reading the comics as a young boy and although he was inspired by characters like Batman and Spider-Man, he began to wonder if there were any characters with books who looked like him.

"So I walked to my local comic book shop in Oakland and asked the guy who was behind the desk and he walked me over and he showed me Black Panther,'" Coogler said.  

Black Panther hero 01:29

The anticipation for this movie is hard to overstate and with that, a lot of pressure on Coogler. He says his past as an athlete has helped him tune it out.

"Thankfully I grew up playing football, playing sports and played in college and have been under high-pressure situations in that environment," he said. "But when you let the pressure interfere too much, it can stop you from doing your work."

Much of the film centers on the identity crisis T'Challa is going through as he struggles to fill his father's shoes as leader of Wakanda.

"For him, his father was the greatest king that ever lived and he's trying to live up to that. He's trying to figure out how to live up to that. The film is very much about whether you side with tradition or innovation, you know what I mean, and when to part with each," He said.

Coogler traveled to Africa on his own journey to discover a part of his identity. 

"As an African-American man, I know that my heritage is from this continent but I grew up, you know, in Oakland and the Bay Area thousands and thousands of miles away and this film gave me an opportunity to travel to the continent and visit several countries there and talk to folks. It really opened up – it really opened up something about my own personal life," he said.